CG Corp Global, Nepal’s first and only billion dollar corporation with a historical legacy of 150 years and also the parent company behind the widely popular Wai Wai noodles, has recently forayed into foodservice operations with Wai Wai City, the first-of-its-kind chain of quick service restaurants in the noodle category. FoodService India speaks to Varun Chaudhary, Executive Director, CG Corp Global, about the noodle bar concept of Wai Wai City and his plans for taking forward this format across the country and overseas.
What is the business rationale and value proposition of your new noodle outlets venture?
Wai Wai City (WWC) is an extension and evolution of our three-decade-old noodle brand Wai Wai Noodles (WWN). While we’ve built a cult following around our widely popular noodle brand over the last three decades, WWC aims to reach out to a larger audience while giving its customers a unique and refreshing experience.
By and large, people generally prefer buying a noodle pack and cooking it at home. Why should they visit your outlet for simply eating noodle? Why do you think that a QSR model around noodle will succeed?
Wai Wai City offers a menu of never-before flavours in a QSR format at pocket-friendly prices that appeal to all ages and tastes. Our outlets transcend the convenience factor of a Quick Service Restaurant. They bring along visual appeal with an inviting ambience to create a space that showcases the transparency of an open kitchen and allows people to catch up over a comfortable meal.
What is the core USP around which you hope to build on your noodle retail business?
We give our users the option to customize their flavour experience with an option of noodles, veggies and sauces. Wai Wai City outlets provide an interactive experience by offering unlimited flavours/ combinations at pocket-friendly rates that no other QSR chain has managed to do.
How many Wai Wai City outlets have you opened till date and where?
We have 12 operating outlets as of now – three in Delhi/ NCR, two in Pune and one outlet each in Siliguri, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Vadodara.
How many such stores you plan to run over the next one year?
We plan to open 40 outlets by the end of the year.
What has been the response and feedback from customers to your retail outlets? What is the average footfall and sales per day?
The response has been great. Customers are falling in love with Wai Wai all over again and are quite excited to see an old time favourite in a new avatar. Footfall and sales vary from city to city and also depend on the format. Some of our outlets are located on high-streets in a stand-alone format, while some are situated in busy food courts.
What is the customer profile at your outlets and what are your offerings to cater to this customer base?
Our customers primarily are in the 18-35 years age group and comprise students, young professionals, and families. At this early stage, we are targeting high footfall areas in food courts and high street locations. In terms of our offerings, both our specially crafted signature selection and the MYO Noodle Bar section carry a huge appeal with our customer base. We are trying out various innovations based on regions. The outlets showcase innovative offerings for different regions. One such offering is Momosa – A combination of two of our favourite dishes, momos and samosas, for the north Indian palate. Similarly, we have a ‘Rice It’ option for the south Indian markets under which one can replace noodle with rice, which is the staple of the south Indian diet. For outlets outside of India, we are doing further exploration of Indian flavours as a unique addition to the menu experience.
What are the price points for your menu offerings?
The cost of dining for two persons comes to approximately Rs 400 at our outlets.
What is the investment per outlet, your expected return on investment, and break-even duration?
It all depends on the format. We have four formats that we operate under – food court (100-150 sq.ft.), stand-alone (500-600 sq.ft.), self-standing kiosk (100 sq.ft.) and highway (1,000 sq. ft). Investments starts from Rs 15 lakh and goes up to Rs 40 lakh. The break-even period could range from 1.5 years to three years, depending on the format.
Going forward, what are your plans for expansion and for tapping new markets?
Wai Wai City has already sold rights to 17 states in India and has immediate plans for global expansion, including their first outlet in home country Nepal. We are also working on a roll-out across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe with a target of 1,500 global outlets by 2022. �